Introducing: Your New Congressional Apportionment!

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 21 2010 11:47 AM

Introducing: Your New Congressional Apportionment!

It's official: Here are the states gaining and losing seats (and thus electoral votes) in 2011. I've put states entirely controlled by Republicans in bold and states entirely controlled by Democrats in italics, although in some of these states there are backstops against total partisan redistricting -- Arizona, for example, has a nonpartisan panel. The gainers:

Arizona +1
Florida +2
Georgia +1

Nevada +1
South Carolina +1
Texas +4
Utah +1

Washington +1

The losers:

Illinois -1
Iowa -1
Louisiana -1
Massachusetts -1
Michigan -1
Missouri -1
New Jersey -1
New York -2
Ohio -2
Pennsylvania -1

This is about as bad as it could get for Democrats, and as good as it could get for Republicans. The next GOP presidential candidate gets six free electoral votes from South Carolina, Texas, Utah. The Democratic caucus in the House is about to see internal warfare in the rust belt and northeast, as their members are forced into Thunderdome battle for the diminished number of seats. Only in Illinois, I think, will the Democrats be able to create a map that hurts the GOP's newly elected members and takes back a seat or two.

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UPDATE: The New York Times's charts, unsurprisingly, put my quick list to shame. Go and look at it .

It's immediately clear that Idaho and Montana have a lot to be annoyed with right now. Idaho's population grew by 21.1 percent in 10 years, but it kept its two congressional districts, so there's one representative for every 783,791 people. It was the fastest-growing state that gained nothing. Only 63,152 fewer people live in Montana than in Rhode Island. But Rhode Island gets 2 districts, and Montana gets one.

It's almost a fool's errand to try and predict redistricting now, before incoming legislatures get control of it, but if there was no partisan gerrymandering, we'd see a lot of competitive or Democratic-leaning new districts in red states. Most of the growth in the past decade has happened in suburbs and exurbs that have been growing bluer -- Travis and Harris County in Texas, Maricopa County in Arizona, Wake County in North Carolina, and so on. But Republicans can easily carve up red states after the Florida and Texas models, and pack non-whites in uncompetitive districts, shore up a few liberals, and make the rest of the districts too Republican-leaning to get into real danger.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.